First week of testing comes to an end in Barcelona as test day four finishes with Nico Hulkenberg’s fastest lap of 1:17.393. The German took the car from his teammate in the afternoon and tried the softest Pirelli C5 for a time attack, as the Aussie already did in late morning. Hulkenberg’s attempt was four tenths fastest than Ricciardo, with Renault closing the day with first and third time. Reliability was not as good as lap time for the French squad, as “Hulk” caused a red flag with an hour to go, as the lap count of the two drivers combined was just 58 laps.
Alexander Albon retains second place as he was fastest in the morning with Pirelli C5. The Thai driver lap time followed yesterday’s best lap from his teammate Daniil Kvyat. It will be interesting to see if Toro Rosso will be able to move up the midfield this year, with Honda engine looking stronger than last year and some interesting aero concept as the new radical front wing.
Mercedes’ drivers were fourth and fifth with Valtteri Bottas faster than Lewis Hamilton with softer tyre compound and a total of 115 laps combined. The Finn stopped the clock in 1:17.857 with Pirelli C5, while Hamilton was running on track with C4 tyres when he had his 1:17.977. Bottas most remarkable work today was probably the one he had after lunch, when he tried different compounds. He had a 1:17.955 with C4, a similar lap time to the one Lewis had in the morning, and also a few different laps showing Mercedes impressive pace in low 1:18s during his long run with Pirelli C2.
That’s a wrap! The first winter test comes to a close in Barcelona! 🏁— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) 21 febbraio 2019
Another strong day of running for our boys and W10! 115 laps in total today! 💪
See you next week, @Circuitcat_eng 👋#F1Testing pic.twitter.com/8W1e1uuw44
Ferrari closed the day immediately behind as Charles Leclerc is sixth with a best lap in 1:18.046 with C3 compound and 138 laps completed. Leclerc was also very quick with harder C2 compound, with a personal best of 1:18.475 in a 12 laps long run. The Prancing Horse seems to be the most competitive title rival for Mercedes, as it’s quite harder to understand the real performance of Red Bull with new Honda engine. Pierre Gasly did a great job today as he was the most active driver on track with 146 laps, as his best lap was a 1:18.780 with C3 yellow tyres.